I am Stuffed - 11 Sep 2010
The holiday season comes to an end, this year I was lucky enough to be invited
to the Bairam festival at my neighbour Ilyas house. He had mot of his family coming over, there were about 30 people in all.
Everyone was very welcoming, and interested why I had decided to come and live in rural Bulgaria. I have trouble explaining this most of the time
but when I tell them that the UK is nothing but large cities, which are noisy etc, they soon come round to my way of thinking. Village life is much better.
"Sello Jivot Po Hobavo!" (Village life is much better)
Before we went to the feast though it is customary to deliver 'chapatis' to all your neighbours. Here is my collection this year, this I should point out
was minus the 8 that I managed to eat before turning green!
So back to the feast, I was quite hungry and not sure what to expect. First of all, 16 of us were knelt around a large circular table on the floor. The
first dish up was a kind of hot rice pudding, with a side salad of fresh tomatoes and the obligatory half a loaf of bread. So I tucked in. Not knowing
how much was to come (I should have watched evryone else though, as they knew and were pacing themselves!)
After everyone had their fill, the rice pudding was replaced with beef and potato casserole, salads were refreshed, more bread was placed on the table!
Still quite peckish though I ploughed on, with much encouragement from my host. The beef was really good so I didn't need much encouragement! (I
still had not caught on that most people were taking it steady!)
The beef casserole was whisked away, and out came a gigantic 'Banitsa', a sort of cheese pastry. Again thinking this might be near the end I filled up
as I am not big on desserts.
The banitsa though was soon replaced with the main course! Large half kilo lumps of steak cooked over rice. Ilyas insiisted that I eat at least two
steaks. At this point I started to worry. The waistband on my trousers was being put under quite a lot of stress! Surely dessert next!
Oh No! Out came a pasta dish cooked in youghurt! Saying I was full, everyone in the room decided that they no longer understood a word I said, and
so I was given an extra large portion!With bread!
At last the pasta was taken away, and this time replaced by Baklava, the sweetest dish I have ever eaten, I could feel my teeth corrode as I took a mouthful!
Ilyas then gave me the tour of his garden whilst 'the women cleared up!'. He said he was very impressed with amount I had eaten, and that the second feast
of the day was to held at his wifes brothers house and would I like to come. At that moment in time just the thought of eating made me turn green!
I politely refused saying that I had a lot of work to catch up with (sleep off the food). So a top tip if you are ever invited to Bairam with a family
make sure you pace youself as you are in for at least 5 or 6 dishes. Only when the baklava cake comes out do you know you are nearing the end!